H&H reports the passing of individuals who have made a significant contribution to the horse world. Funerals and memorial details will be included where possible.

Stewart Hastie

Leading vet Mr Hastie died on 
21 February aged 95.

Mr Hastie was awarded the British Equestrian Trade Association’s lifetime achievement award in 2013 for his contribution to the equine industry.

He graduated from Glasgow University in 1944 and started his career in general practice in Kent. In 1958 he moved to Buckingham, where he bought his own practice and developed his equine work.

Mr Hastie was a great contributor towards the knowledge and development of modern saddle-fitting and provided many years of service to the Society of Master Saddlers as its veterinary consultant. He was at the forefront of major studies on the effect saddles and girths have on the horse.

“When he retired from hands-on veterinary work he left a legacy of pursuing the very best in clinical excellence while maintaining the highest standards of professionalism,” said a tribute from Buckingham Equine Vets. “As a practice team we still strive to achieve these principles laid out by the father of our practice many decades ago.”

Mr Hastie worked closely with his wife, vet Jane, for 40 years.

A celebration of Mr Hastie’s life will take place at 11.30am on 24 April at the 1905 Suite in Whittlebury Park, Northants. Attendees should email 
cphastie@yahoo.ca in advance.

Alec Russell

The popular racing photographer, whose career spanned 60 years, died on 27 February aged 85.

Photography started as a hobby for the Yorkshireman, but after some time working for theatres he branched out into racing and made it his career.

He was presented with the photographer of the year accolade at the 1998 Horserace Writers and Photographers Association awards, and the lifetime achievement award in 2008.

Members of the racing world have paid tribute to “one of our greatest horseracing photographers”.

Fellow photographer Pat Healy described him as “one of life’s gentlemen”, adding: “Along with Gerry Cranham and Ed Byrne, he changed horseracing photography for what it is today.”

Cynthia Llewellen Palmer

A stalwart of the equestrian world, Mrs Llewellen Palmer died on 19 February aged 82.

She started in the Perth Hunt Pony Club and her parents hosted events at the family home, Hallyburton House, in Perthshire. These included the first ever one-day-event in the UK in 1952.

Mrs Llewellen Palmer rode at Badminton in 1959 and hunted with the Quorn and Beaufort through the 1960s and 1970s.

She later encouraged her four children and 13 grandchildren to ride. She hosted the Beaufort Hunt branch of the Pony Club camp, competed in dressage for much of her life and judged for more than 40 years. As well as this, Mrs Llewellen Palmer was selector for the British dressage junior team for six years and spent a long spell as a Pony Club area representative.

In 2016, she was presented with a lifetime achievement award by Badminton Horse Trials, where she volunteered as a fence judge and dressage writer.

Her funeral will take place at 
St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Great Somerford, Wilts, on 13 March at 3pm.

Veronica White

A pioneering figure in the showing world, Mrs White died on 25 February.

Mrs White was highly involved in equestrian sport throughout her life as a rider, owner, supporter and major sponsor. Her top horses included show hunters Dual Gold and Flashman, and star cob Kempley, who were all ridden by Robert Oliver. She sponsored numerous classes at Hickstead and Ponies Association (UK) shows over the years.

She was a familiar face on the hunting field, riding with the Crawley and Horsham, Ledbury, and the Burstow among others.

“She was instrumental in the growth of the modern showing world,” her son Anthony told H&H.

He added his mother was very kind and if anything needed doing, she would make sure it was done.

Mrs White raised more than £250,000 for St Catherine’s Hospice in Crawley over the years.

Ponies Association (UK) chairman Carol Cooper was among the many to pay tribute to Mrs White.

“Veronica was a beautiful lady on the inside and out,” said Mrs Cooper. “She was a stalwart supporter and major sponsor of PUK from the early days.

“A vibrant, happy, colourful (purple) and extremely generous person. I personally have very fond memories of our families’ ties with Veronica and offer my sincere condolences from myself and the board of PUK to the beloved family she has left behind.”

Mrs White’s funeral will take place at 11am on Monday, 19 March at Worthing Crematorium, West Sussex.

Capt Dick Seaman

Capt Seaman, a familiar figure on the eventing circuit for many years, died on 15 Febuary aged 95.

Born in Jamaica in 1922, he served in the Royal Artillery after Harrow and, while in India during the war, rode in Flat races and was secretary of the Quetta Hunt, whose quarry was jackal.

He was aide-de-camp to the governor of Bermuda and returned to the UK to teach at the RMA Sandhurst, where he took up four-in-hand driving. He was later elected as a member of the Coaching Club.
He jumped out of Dakotas, flew a Tiger Moth and competed in motorbike trial riding. He also completed the Cresta Run.

As an amateur rider he was a member of the National Champion Riding Club showjumping team with the Hawley Riding Club, and enjoyed many years’ hunting with the Garth and South Berks.

A successful businessman after leaving the army, he enjoyed a year as master of the Worshipful Company of Launderers.

Capt Seaman was a BHS horse trials steward and cross-country steward at the popular Windsor three-day event.

He owned three Badminton and Burghley runners, Cabaret, Copper John and The Reverend, as well as Aintree Fox Hunters’ completer Ballyvoneen.

He also bred the Olympic Team gold medallist Justin Thyme, out of Cabaret.

His hospitality at eventing venue hotels or point-to-point car boots was enjoyed by many.

He is survived by his wife 
Fiona, children Julian and Katie, three grandchildren and one 

Ernest Templeton McMillen

A leading figure in the Pony Club, Mr McMillen died on 21 February aged 89.

Mr McMillen led the organisation from 1985 to 1991 and would visit branches across the British Isles, as well as the largest and smallest area competitions to meet as many members and volunteers as possible. One of his successes was the creation of the Pony Club’s centre membership.

Mr McMillen was an entrepreneur and ran an insurance brokerage in Belfast, owned a hotel in Newtownards, Co. Down, and turned around the fortunes of a carpet factory in Saintfield.

He was also an international rally driver and finished 19th in the 1960 Monte Carlo rally.

He took up riding in his mid-30s when his children developed an interest in horses and went on to serve as master of North Down foxhounds from 1978 to 1982.

Mr McMillen was made a life vice-president of the Pony Club 
in 2000 and was appointed MBE in 2004.

David Barons

The Grand National-winning trainer died in February aged 81.

Mr Barons saddled more than 950 winners during his 33-year training career. He is best known for his 1991 Grand National winner Seagram, one of a number of top horses Mr Barons imported from New Zealand.

He also had back-to-back victories in the Hennessy Gold Cup, now the Ladbrokes Trophy, 
at Newbury, with Broadheath in 1986, followed by Playschool in 1987 — both of whom were ridden by Paul Nicholls.

The 10-time champion trainer said he had his “best spell as a jockey” while working for Mr Barons and also enjoyed his time there as assistant trainer after retiring from race-riding.

Janet Dianne 

A founder member of Kipling County Carriage Driving, Mrs Bettell-Higgins died on 22 January aged 73.

As a child, she would help with ponies on Hunstanton beach at weekends and would also assist with transporting holidaymakers in a trap from the railway station.

After she left school, she spent a year training at an Arab stud near Norwich, after which she went on to a job with the Kirby Cane Welsh Pony Stud.

Mrs Bettell-Higgins married her husband Larry in 1965 and spent the following two years working under Nancy Wheeler at Home Farm Riding Stables in Norfolk.

She went on to form the Battenhurst Riding & Livery Yard and also enjoyed many successes in driving trials.

In 1985 she joined a Riding for the Disabled Association group at Heron’s Ghyll, co-founding her own group, Kipling County Carriage Driving, in 1996, which is still going strong today.

Vicki Macrae

The highly respected former showing judge, competitor and trainer has died aged 75 after a long illness.

Mrs Macrae, who also enjoyed hunting and team chasing — the latter with the Odds and Sods — was renowned for her passionate love of horses.

Among her successful show animals were working cob Mr Chippendale, who was virtually unbeaten on the county circuit; middleweight hunter Ratzo Ritzo and home-bred coloured mare Beryl, who gave her a highly prized best turned-out award from a class of more than 40 at the Royal International Horse Show.

Mrs Macrae also enjoyed training individuals to achieve their personal bests, and once coached Britain’s Olympic pentathletes in the equestrian phase of the competition. She also ran Stocklands Equestrian Centre for several years.

She was a member of five judging panels and, with her long-time partner Cliff Jarvis as legger-up, once officiated at Richmond, Swansea and Burnley shows on three successive days, clocking up more than 660 miles and riding more than 230 horses.

Mrs Macrae’s funeral takes place at 2.15pm on 15 March at Guildford Crematorium.

Rod Kohler

Tributes have been paid to Mr Kohler, who has died from cancer at 48.

He was
joint managing director of Revolution Sports + Entertainment, an international sports PR and sponsorship agency, which he founded in 2005.

Mr Kohler worked on behalf of Rolex at five FEI World Cup finals, two European Championships and saw the launch of the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping in 2013.

He was especially proud of his role as press attaché to the Saudi Equestrian showjumping team’s historic bronze at London 2012.

Mr Kohler also led the team managing PR for Royal Windsor.

Andrew Baldock, chairman of the British Equestrian Writers’ Association, said Mr Kohler was a “lovely man, a total professional and someone who always had the time of day for you”.

“He was the most wonderful company,” he added. “I feel privileged to have known Rod. He truly was one of the very best.”

Sheila Campbell

A stalwart of the equestrian world, Mrs Campbell died on 
28 January aged 90.

She first married Jim Hallam, with whom she had three children.

Mrs Campbell was chairman of West Lancashire Riding Club, and the Northern Liaison Group of riding clubs in the 1970s, and was district commissioner of the Wheelton Pony Club.

After her husband’s death, she moved to Penrith, Cumbria, with second husband, David Campbell, where she was district commissioner of the Cumberland Farmers’ Hunt South branch.

She was also a dressage judge, an eventing judge, helper and supporter, and a breeder.

Willie Codd

The leading Irish point-to-point trainer died on 31 January aged 43.

Mr Codd had much success as a jockey and a trainer, and also had a passion for eventing.

He rode 58 winners between 1992 and 2005, including the Champion Hunter Chase at the 2003 Punchestown Festival aboard What Odds.

As a trainer, he was responsible for producing numerous young horses, including Tranquil Sea, who went on to win 13 races under Rules including the Grade One John Durkan Memorial Chase at Punchestown in 2010.

He saddled his last winner, Bold Sky, in a mares’ maiden at Tinahely on 14 January.


A pivotal figure in the Arab 
horse community, Mrs Unwin died on 3 February aged 87.

She married John Unwin in 1954 and the pair founded a stud at Topcroft Hall in Suffolk. The couple moved to Nethercroft Farm, Suffolk, in the 1970s and joined forces with Eileen and John Tatum to import the stallion Marawan.

Mrs Unwin also played a leading role in securing the return of Arab racing to Britain.

Her funeral will take place at East Rudham Church, Norfolk, at 1pm on 20 February.

Jean-Margaret (JM) Cunningham

A dedicated eventing supporter, Mrs Cunningham died in January aged 81.

Mrs Cunningham owned many top horses over the last 30 years.

Despite a 16-year battle with inoperable cancer, involving 129 rounds of chemotherapy, her illness never interfered with her ability to follow her horses.

She owned horses for Mark Todd, Leslie Law, Andrew Nicholson, Sarah Kellard and Katie Parker among others.

Mrs Cunningham could often be spotted at events watching her horses from her green Range Rover, with a silver horse adorning the bonnet, and was also known for her legendary picnics.

Her eventers included Warren Gorse, who finished second under Mark Todd at the 1998 young horse championships in Le Lion, Fulham Fair, Super Sloane and a share in four-star campaigner Hello Henry.

She ran the dressage stewarding at several events, including Longleat and Nunney, and was also awarded the Cubitt Award for her help with the Wyle Balley branch of the Pony Club.

A memorial service will take place on 15 February at 3pm at St Andrew’s Church in Mells, Wiltshire.

Richard Woollacott

The racing world is mourning the death of Mr Woollacott, who died on 23 January aged 40.

Mr Woollacott had saddled 60 winners since receiving his licence in 2008, including the Grade Two bumper at Aintree with Lalor and the Grade Two Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury with Beer Goggles.

He was also a very successful point-to-point rider, taking the Devon & Cornwall championship nine times and the national title in 2010.

British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust said the organisation is doing all it can to support Mr Woollacott’s family.

“It is simply tragic to lose someone so young, and who had so much to offer both the racing world and, more importantly, his young family,” said Mr Rust.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with his family, friends and indeed all the horses who Richard cared for in his all-too-short time as a trainer, and who will no doubt miss him greatly.”

Mr Woollacott’s funeral will take place at 2pm on 11 February at the church of St Mary the Virgin in Bishops Nympton, Devon.

Benjamin Frank 
(Bay) Lane

A pioneering showjumper, Mr Lane died on 29 January aged 89.

A slip of the tongue resulted in his nickname — when he was born, Mr Lane’s father announced “it’s 
a bay!”, which stuck.

When he was young his father would often lift him on to the backs of plough horses. He became more involved in his father’s farming and dealing business as he grew up. His riding career also blossomed as he progressed from gymkhanas to international showjumping.

Mr Lane was a member of the first British Nations Cup team to travel abroad following World War II, competing in Nice in 1948.

His top horse, Trueman, was found on a trip to Dublin Horse Show in the 1950s.

The combination won speed classes at the Horse of the Year Show in three consecutive years from 1959 to 1961.

He was also a familiar figure on the West Warwickshire hunting field and had a passion for racing and point-to-pointing. A true horseman until his death, Mr Lane continued to buy and ride youngsters until the age of 83.

His funeral is to take place at St James’ Church, Alveston, Warks, on 12 February.

Stephen Davenport

An expert horseman, Mr Davenport died on 24 January aged 73.

He was showjumping and hunting before he was 10, and went on to enjoy a successful racing career.

He became champion amateur in 1964, riding 192 winners that season and finishing fourth in the Grand National aboard the 66-1 shot Eternal. After turning professional, one of his greatest victories was with Surcharge in the 1968 Topham Chase at Aintree.

Mr Davenport set up a training yard at Mobberley, Cheshire, before establishing a successful breeding programme.

Among the top horses he bred were international showjumpers Jordan II, One Man, Newton Nickel and Zoe II.

Malcolm Jefferson

The Cheltenham Festival-winning trainer died on 2 February aged 71.

Mr Jefferson’s first success at the Festival came in 1994 with Tindari in the Hurdle Final. The following year he became the first British trainer to win the Champion Bumper, with Dato Star.

In 2012 he saddled a double of winners at the Festival, Cape Tribulation and Attaglance.

“His experienced and guiding hand has benefited not only the horses and staff in his care, but the racing community in Malton and the north for many years,” said BHA chief executive Nick Rust.

Michael Higgens

One of Ireland’s best-known hunting figures, Mr Higgens died on 28 January aged 76.

Master of the Tipperary for 18 seasons, he bred a first-class pack of modern foxhounds.

He started his career with the late Captain Charlie Barclay of the Puckeridge in Britain, before venturing to the Findon Harriers in Victoria, Australia. He decided Ireland was more suited to him and moved to north Wexford in the late 1960s to serve as kennel-huntsman at the Island. In 1970 he was appointed master of the East Galway, moving to the Tipperary as 
master and huntsman in 1973.

Mr Higgens was a successful breeder of foxhounds; the Tipperary hounds won many classes in Britain and at Peterborough. He was also 
a respected hound judge on 
both sides of the Irish Sea.

He later hunted the Avondhu for a season in the 1990s and helped breed the Golden Vale hounds, moving on to the Kilmoganny in 1993, where he served for six seasons.

After retiring in 1999, he continued to hunt and this year rode with the Tipperary to mark his 50th season in Ireland.

Brigit Powell

A Dedicated dressage judge, owner and supporter of the sport, Mrs Powell died in January at the age of 84.

A chance meeting with Isobel Wessells at a judges’ course in Cornwall led to a great partnership. Mrs Powell expressed an interest in buying a horse with Isobel, which resulted in her 
co-owning Isobel’s grand prix horse Chagall.

She was an active member of the British Dressage Supporters Club and frequently judged at shows in Cornwall and Devon.

Peter Casey

Multiple Grade One-winning trainer Mr Casey died on 27 January aged 82.

The Irishman enjoyed three Grade One victories with Flemenstar. The first of these came at Leopardstown in January 2012. His stable star went on to win the Powers Gold Cup at Fairyhouse that April, before taking the John Durkan Chase at Punchestown in December 2013.

His funeral was held on 31 January in Balscadden.

Helen Webber

A former British youth team selector and list one dressage judge, Mrs Webber died this month aged 88.

Mrs Webber (pictured, above right) gave much support to the British Horse Society (BHS) in all aspects of horsemanship, including as an examiner, and gained her BHS Fellowship in 1964.

She received the BHS award of merit in 1996 and the Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002.

Mrs Webber competed in eventing before switching to dressage, where she rode up to grand prix level.

She became a British Dressage (BD) list one judge and selector for the junior and young rider teams.

“She gave excellent advice and gained enormous respect from the young people who were guided by her honesty and her genuine enthusiasm for their successes,” said Jennie Loriston-Clarke.

“Helen was a trainer of judges and part of the team which set up today’s judging programme.

“Her knowledge, fairness and even more, her sense of humour will be sorely missed.”

BD interim judges director Peter Storr added: “Helen was a very nice, practical and down-to-earth person who always had time to explain and offer advice. She’ll be greatly missed.”

Wilhelm (Willi) Melliger

Double Olympic silver medallist Mr Melliger has died aged 64.

The Swiss showjumper (pictured, right) rode Calvaro V to individual silver at the 1996 Atlanta Games and the combination was also part of the silver medal-winning team at the 2000 Sydney Games.

The pair also enjoyed a run of success at two consecutive European Championships, winning individual bronze and team gold on home turf in 1995 and individual bronze in Germany two years later.

Mary Hambro

Bloodstick pioneer and eventing supporter Mrs Hambro died on 3 January aged 67.

She was the first bloodstock consignor in Britain, professionally preparing and showing horses at the sales, as well as a successful racehorse trainer, owner and breeder.

Among the horses Mrs Hambro bred was the 1989 Ebor winner Sapience.

A spokesman for British Eventing said Mrs Hambro was a “vital part” of its stewarding team from the 1990s onwards and also a “much valued” FEI steward.

Anne Grossick

The equestrian photographer has died aged 64.

Mrs Grossick ran the photographic company Grossick Photography with her husband John and she was a well-known figure at racecourses across Britain and Scotland.

The pair built the business up from scratch and covered all manner of equestrian events, specialising in racing.

Mrs Grossick was chosen as the Horserace Writers and Photographers Association photographer of the year in 2001.

John Lynch

The director of transport company Five Star Bloodstock died on 12 January aged 63.

Mr Lynch was a familiar figure in the British and Irish racing communities.

Trainer Gordon Elliott was among the many to pay tribute.

“He will be badly missed by all his family, friends and customers,” said Mr Elliott.

Bryn Crossley

The former champion apprentice jockey died on 7 January aged 59.

Mr Crossley won the apprenticeship title in 1981 with 
45 winners and rode more than 200 winners in his 18-year career.

His major victories included the Group 3 Fillies’ Mile aboard Nepula at Newmarket in 1993, the 1982 Lincoln Handicap at Doncaster and 1981 Old Newton Cup at Haydock.

Patricia Gillian (Jill) Thomson

The “selfless and inspirational” mother of Mary King died on 8 January aged 81.

Mary credited her mother, 
a well-known face at events, 
with making her own career as 
an event rider possible.

Although not horsey herself, Mrs Thomson (above) would always be seen supporting her daughter and granddaughter, Emily, at competitions. A week before Christmas, she passed 
a medical to allow her to continue driving the lorry for another year.

“She was an angel for so many people and I have been so lucky to have such an inspirational mummy,” said Mary.

“She told me to always smile — when I came out of the ring whether I had fallen off or won, 
she insisted that I always smile.”

When Mary’s children were young, her mother would care for them so Mary could ride. She would also drive the horsebox 
to and from events to give Mary time with her children.

She did not only dedicate her time to her own family, but many others who needed help.

She fostered 36 children over the years, was a verger at her local church, a Guiding volunteer and treasurer of the Axe Vale branch of the Pony Club. She also helped to care for older people in the community, taught bell-ringing, ran a community badminton club and a free playgroup.

A service of thanksgiving will take place on 25 January at 12pm at Salcombe Regis Church with a dress code of “colourful clothes and happy faces”.

Roy Bird

A Long-serving friend to the equestrian world, Mr Bird died on 4 January aged 91.

Mr Bird, from Peterborough, served on the Burghley Horse Trials committee for more than 50 years.

Following six years in the army, he started working at Peterborough Agricultural Society.

He was appointed chief executive 20 years later when it became the East of England Agricultural Society.

He oversaw the development of the East of England Showground and also worked as secretary of the Royal Peterborough Hound Show and president of Ponies Association (UK).

He was appointed secretary of the Shire Horse Society and around 55 years ago he was tasked with “winding up” the company.

“He did quite the opposite,” said Victoria Clayton, current secretary.

“The society thrived under his tenure and without Mr Bird’s efforts the society is highly likely to not be in existence.”

She added that one of his most significant contributions was the introduction of the stallion premium scheme, which helps owners with the costs of keeping an animal entire.

“Mr Bird’s dedication to the Shire horse breed is an example 
to all,” added Ms Clayton.